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Women are working longer than men but not necessarily harder

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Female workers are on average less productive than their male colleagues, according to new research

Research by productivity enhancement expert OfficeMetrics into working patterns in the UK over the past nine months shows a vast difference between how men and women have responded to the recession.

In July this year, according to the findings UK workers were spending on average 15 minutes longer at their desks than they were nine months ago. However, the amount of time spent on work-based activities had reduced by 3%.

Jon Mulligan, MD of OfficeMetrics, commented: "Spending longer in the office is only beneficial to the company if that time is being spent productively towards common businesses goals. Therefore, employees and managers need to understand how time is spent rather than clock watching."

The research shows that women have been making a bigger effort to demonstrate their commitment at work than men in an attempt to ensure job security. Key findings are: on average, women started work 18 minutes earlier in July this year than in November last year; in January 2009 women were only 87 % as productive as men during the working day despite being in the office for almost an hour longer; in July 2009, women improved their efficiency to become 94% as productive as men, but women were still spending longer at work

But Mulligan believes other factors have to be considered. He said: "By looking at the statistics, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that women are not working as hard as men. However, we mustn't forget that individuals have varying working styles. Women may be spending less time on work activities but producing better results and therefore managers must take multiple factors in to account when they are assessing employee performance. By using productivity enhancement software, workers and manages can track how they are spending their working day to ensure that they are making the most of their time depending on individual needs."